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THE PIOUS VILLAGER.
and evening and as he was only allowed to have one hour from the field even at that time, she used to read the chapter to him while he dined, and then they both knelt together and off red up their simple heart-felt sacrifice at the throne of grace. Surely God was the God of this family! The remainder of the narrative will shew that he was.
From that time forward, there was no walk to me so interesting as that to T's cottage. Many a precious chapter have we enjoyed, and many a sweet conversation have we held together. One day especially, I found him getting his dinner alone, as his wife was at market. " Oh," said he, "I was just thinking how dull this hour passed without my chapter!" for he could not read. "Many a time," continued he, “have I thanked God for giving me a wife that could read the Bible to me; and above all, that could help her poor ignorant husband on the way to heaven." I found that till his marriage, he had been utterly careless on the subject of religion. His wife was a pious woman. As I said before, he could not read; and on the long winter evenings she persuaded him, among other things, to allow her to read a chapter in the Bible to him every night. They began with the historical parts: the book was quite new to him: every evening he liked it better and better. At length, all other books were laid aside; and night after night, after a hard day's work, would they sit up till a late hour-she delighting to read, and he all eager to listen, to this wonderful Bible.
The word now began to reach his heart; every vacant moment was seized for this one study. Now, too, satan began to tempt him, and stirred up his old companions in wickedness, that favourite deadly engine of the prince of darkness, to draw him or scare him back again into habits of sin. Many a night, his wife has told me, while they two have been sitting by the fireside happily engaged in their sweet employment, have these men come in, and by their noise, curses, and jeers, tried to frighten her from her purpose, or shame him out of his religion. At first, this was a sore trial. She kept reading on ; but sometimes in tears, fearing that they might prevail over her husband; and often lifted up her heartfelt prayer to her Lord, who doubtless heard these broken petitions. It was a still severer struggle for the weak and tender faith of poor T. He would sit opposite, with his eyes fixed on the book, not daring to look aside, or return an answer to their rude jeers. At length, finding he was not to be shaken, they left
THE PIOUS VILLAGER.
him and thenceforth he grew, day by day, in the knowledge and love of his Lord and Saviour; and even outstripped his instructress in holy meekness and a heavenly disposition. The grace of God, indeed, shone forth in him. In the sanctuary, in the field, at home, he was the same steady, humble, consistent christian. His little girl was diligently brought up in the knowledge of that precious Saviour whom he had found, and it seemed his greatest delight to hear her repeat her hymns and verses to him. His dark eyes would brighten up, and sometimes he could hardly refrain from uttering aloud the feeble praises of his grateful heart. Gratitude, indeed, seemed a leading feature in his character. He suffered much from a swelling in his knee, which terminated in his death, and which grew more painful from the constant exercise to which his occupation obliged him. Once, indeed, the pain so overpowered him, that he fell down senseless on the road. This he knew would not long allow him to pursue his labours; and he anxiously foreboded that it must terminate in his leaving the quiet cottage, the retirement of which he highly valued, and where so many happy hours had been spent. I asked him if he was not sometimes tempted to complain, "Oh,” he said, “I seldom feel a pain from this knee, but I thank God that the other is spared me. I often look at my sound knee, and think, what should I have done if this had been bad too; and that makes me thankful!" Especially was his affection for his wife, as the first instrument of his conversion, beautifully manifested. He seemed always to feel himself inferior to her, and to be scarcely sensible of her weakness. "We are all weak," he would say, "and must try to strengthen one another."
The swelling on his knee had now grown so painful, that he was unable any longer to pursue his usual occupation in the fields. This was a great trial; as, besides the distress in which it involved his family, he loved his employment. There, he would say, he could see God in all about him, and get his fellow-labourers to talk about Him too: and so anxious was he to lead them to that Saviour whom he loved, that he would often ask one or other of them into his cottage to share his simple meal, that they might have the opportunity of joining in prayer with his little family, and hearing his daily chapter. His master now kindly allowed him to leave his work for awhile, to place him under the care of some noted medical practitioner near the town of H-, by whom a severe operation was to be performed on his knee. The next time that I
THE PIOUS VILLAGER.
saw him, I was alarmed at the change that had taken place in his appearance. The effect of the severe treatment he had undergone had been too much for his weak frame. His strength and spirits had sunk under it; and he was now in the early stage of a rapid consumption. He had been absent nearly two months from his home, and his little stock of money, the hard-earned savings of many years, being quite spent, he had at last returned incurable. But during that long absence from his wife and his beloved family his Lord had not forsaken him. For awhile, being himself unable to read, and confined to a sick and lonely chamber, his situation was very trying: but He who sent his angel to Hagar in the wilderness, opened the heart of the druggist's boy who brought his medicines, to visit him twice a day, and read to him the Bible and other religious books. For awhile, after his return, the sight of his cottage, his wife, and his darling children, seemed to revive him; but soon the deceitful malady returned with redoubled force, when it was evident that he must soon be confined to his chamber, and from thence be shortly carried to the chamber of the tomb. Prior to this event, he one day asked to be carried down stairs and taken into the garden. There he seemed to take his last look of everything around him. "Now," said he, "carry me back again;” and after that he never left his sick room.
Once, during his illness, his wife said to him, "T—, I wish I heard you pray oftener; you seldom pray aloud." My body is too weak," he said, "but my heart often prays." "Then how do you feel for eternity?" "A poor sinner: but, thank God, on the right foundation," alluding to Matt. vii. 25, a passage which was often on his mind, as referring to Jesus Christ, the rock of ages. "Do you ever think," she asked, "what will become of your poor wife and children when you are gone?" "Ah!" he said, "I have had many a bitter thought there; but not now I can leave you-God will take care of you." Many a sweet and precious testimony to the faithfulness of Him who passeth through the waters with his servants dropped from the mouth of this humble christian. At last, the hour of death arrived his friends perceived the change on his countenance, and knew it was the hand of the last messenger. asked for a cup of water, and drank a little; "Thank you all," he said, and leaned back on his pillow: he now raised his eyes, and with a holy smile began, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name: bless the Lord, O
and here his voice failed, he closed his eyes,
and in a few moments breathed his last.
"How blest the righteous when he dies-
How gently heaves th'expiring breast!"
A holy quiet seemed to rest for weeks after on that bereaved cottage. The hours I spent with this poor but pious man, during my stay in that little village, have been among the happiest of my life; and my prayer often ascends, that my last end may be like his, and that I may at last be allowed to meet again that blessed spirit in the kingdom of our heavenly Father, "where is neither bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."
"There, low before his heavenly throne,
And with delightful worship, own
His smile their bliss, their heaven, their all."
"BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD."-Psalm xlvi. 10.
WHEN earthquakes, thunder, fire, and storm,
When life recedes, and death draws near,
ANECDOTES, SELECTIONS, AND GEMS.
Anecdotes, Selections, and Gems.
THE PRINCE AND THE PLOUGHMAN.-I know a farmer in Norfolk, a very small farmer, rather to be called a ploughman, but he had some mechanical ingenuity, and he invented a considerable improvement on the ordinary plough. Having done this, he thought he should like to get introduced to Prince Albert, that he might have permission to use his name. His landlord got him the necessary introduction, and he went to the palace with the model of the plough. The introduction being sent in, it was received, and he was told that he must wait a little. The good man, a deacon of a baptist church, thus found himself in the precincts of the royal palace, and he knew how to behave himseif, for the christianity of which he was pre-eminently subject, taught him how to behave in the palace of princes. Some two or three days intervened, and at last he was to see His Royal Highness with the plough. There were two or three models with which His Royal Highness was pleased, and it was called the Albert Plough. After this was over, he drew out his pocket book, and said, "Please your Royal Highness, I sometimes write a little poetry. When Her Majesty came of age, I wrote a little about that; when Her Majesty was crowned, I wrote a little about that; when Her Majesty was married, I wrote a little about that. I have had them all copied out, if you would please to give them to Her Majesty." With great kindness, characteristic of good nature, the poetry was accepted just in the same spirit in which it was presented. I will not answer for the versification, but I know that it was thoroughly steeped with evangelical sentiments-right evangelical loyalty. The good man came home rather important, not improperly so, especially for the town where he lived. He had not been home more than a few days, before there came by the old telegraph coach, a large parcel with the royal arms. The porter wondered, and the landlord wondered that Mr. John Smith should have such a parcel as that; but there it was, and when it was opened, there was a copy of "Bagster's Comprehensive Bible," sent down by her Majesty herself as a token of approval of the poetry of John Smith. This set him up. He and his wife looked at it, and they knew not how to contain themselves, inferring that there was in that incident an intimation of what is going on in certain quarters, in which we may all rejoice. In Cæsar's household there were those that served the Lord; and I hope we have something like it in our own palace. That, however, is not the end of the ingenuity. It occurred in the year of the Baptist Jubilee, and when they were about building a Sundayschool connected with the church of which he was a deacon. They were musing upon it; and he said to his wife, "if we could but get Prince Albert's name, we could show the Bible for a shilling, and